5 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries with Social Media
Stress, burnout, overwhelm, no time off, lack of sleep… we usually shrug and call it the price of whatever it is we do: entrepreneurship, being a working mom, working in corporate America, having a side hustle.
But here's what it really is: we are wasting our days away mindlessly scrolling through social media. This is not only highly unproductive, but also can really affect our mental health.
Now this is the part where I tell you: I LOVE social media! I built a business on social media. I made amazing friends on social media. Social media is not all bad, not at all.
But for it to be good, we need boundaries.
These companies have teams of super smart people dedicated to figuring out how to keep us on social media for as long as possible. The automatic login, the endless scroll, the recommendations, the notifications. All that exists to keep us hooked.
So I want to share with you five ways to gain back control on how we use these platforms to protect your mental health and productivity:
1. Pick a device. Just because these platforms are available for desktop, mobile, tablet, watches, glasses and more, it does not mean you need to use it in all these devices. I recommend picking one, preferably computer or tablet since we carry our phones with us all the time, to be where you use social media.
I chose my computer. I deleted Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter from my phone. I only kept Instagram and TikTok, since you need the phone to post.
By limiting my usage of these platforms to when I'm sitting in front of my computer, there's a smaller chance I will be wasting time on an endless scroll when I'm on the go, or that I'll be tempted to answer work messages after hours.
2. Spring clean the accounts you follow on Instagram. Let's all agree we don't want to look at content that is not relevant to us, and more importantly, that doesn't make us feel worthy? If you click on the number of accounts you follow, you will be able to see the 50 that you least and 50 that you most interact with. That's usually a good place to start. Look at those accounts and see if they should stay or go.
By the way, you do not need to follow this friend who you like but find yourself always comparing yourself to or that competitor who makes you feel like your business isn't good enough. It's totally okay to unfollow.
(Reminder: you are worthy and loved!)
3. Change all your notifications settings, so they don't pop up on your phone or computer. You can go to Settings > Notifications on all these platforms and read through them to turn them off. I did this a while back and find it very helpful.
4. Delete your Facebook news feed! Most people don't even know this is an option, but removing your Facebook news feed is the self care routine you never knew you needed! You will still be able to go to any of your contact's profiles or groups directly to catch up and engage. But no need to see the conspiracy theories aunt Sherry keeps sharing on election year.
You have two options on how to do this:
- You can manually unfollow everyone by going to Facebook > Settings > News Feed preferences
- If you use Chrome, you can install an extension like this one, which is what I did. Note that if you use the extension, you will still see the feed when using a different browser or the app, which is why I got rid of the app on my phone too!
5. Schedule all your posts for auto-publishing using an Instagram partner app. This is only for people using Instagram for business, but such a game changer. When you schedule a post for auto-publish, you are minimizing getting sucked into more scrolling and I will tell you, you'd be saving hours and hours by the end of the month! I always have my weekend and holiday posts planned out and if I am going on vacation, I leave all my posts scheduled ahead.
Even when I don't have posts planned and scheduled ahead of time, I still use auto-publish for my post of the day, so I am logging in less times.
There is still a LOT of good these platforms can do for us and it's up to us to control how we use it. So now that we know better, we can regain control and minimize the impact it has in our lives. Let's do it!
Manu Muraro is the founder of Your Social Team, an Instagram training community that offers membership, courses and templates to grow your business engagement and sales. Manu has a background of 20 years of experience in creative and marketing and strategy and her goal is to make you forget about vanity metrics and focus on growing your business. You can find her on Instagram @yoursocialteam or online at www.yoursocial.team.
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